The Arccos Caddie Link lives! Personal stat tracking has proven that amateur golfers can improve their game and lower their scores when they base their decisions on accurate data. Arccos has been an industry leader, perhaps the industry leader, for years and its system excels at leveraging data using an AI-powered “Caddie” and presenting everything in a user-friendly way to help you make the right choices on the course. But one of the biggest drawbacks to the entire Arccos system has been its limited, imperfect shot detection options – either keeping your phone in your front pocket while you play or using a specific third-party smartwatch. Both options had drawbacks and turned some golfers away.
Arccos has been teasing a solution to this problem since at least January 2019, but now that the Caddie Link is shipping, golfers everywhere might finally have an elegant solution to the shot detection issues. The new Arccos Caddie Link is a small, GPS-enabled receiver that frees golfers from the previous limitations. Whether you are sick of the hot, bulky phone in your front pocket, need to totally disconnect from your phone on course, can’t stand the distracting buzz and terrible battery life of your smartwatch, or hate that you can’t track stats and listen to music on a Bluetooth speaker simultaneously, the Caddie Link is designed to set you free without giving up Arccos stat tracking.
The Caddie Link is designed to clip on your belt, pocket, skirt, or anywhere you can fit the matchbook-sized device without obstruction near your front pocket. After a shot is detected, the GPS and club information are relayed to the Caddie app through a Bluetooth connection. The device itself is structurally sound, sturdy, and weather resistant. The clip is made of a strong plastic that hinges enough to fit over some of the thickest belts that I owned but is otherwise strong enough that I have very little fear that it will break through ordinary wear and tear.
Over the last few weeks I took a deep dive into the capabilities and performance of the Caddie Link to put it through its paces. First things first – the Arccos Caddie Link works as advertised and does an excellent job of detecting shots on the course and providing real-time GPS information to the Caddie app. The real-time integration of the Caddie Link GPS data into the Caddie app works just like it did when the app was using a phone’s GPS. And if you also wear a smartwatch for quick glance yardages, your distance to the front, middle, and back of the green (and wind information outside of tournament mode) appear quickly with flawless integration.
The Caddie Link does the basics perfectly. I have more than three years of experience with the Arccos system and I found the Caddie Link to be as good at detecting shots as using my phone in my front pocket. The common detection issue where too many or too few putts were detected continued, but it was no worse (and no better) than using phone detection. Correcting the number of putts can be fixed in the app to ensure your data is accurate and that Arccos didn’t convert that birdie into a par.
While shot detection accuracy is essentially unchanged, the Caddie Link really shines over phone or smartwatch detection in two major areas: battery life and data accuracy. A phone or smartwatch would last one round, sometimes less, but the Caddie Link is designed to last up to 10 hours before needing a charge. And the 10 hour figure stood up to testing – it lasted two rounds (a Thursday and Sunday) on a single charge and the battery still had juice to spare. The other major upgrade is that with the Caddie Link, you can tag the location of the pin with a click of its button, meaning your approach and putting stats will be more accurate. Gone are the days of the post-round memory test of where the pin was on a green because with the Caddie Link, a single click captures the GPS location of the pin when you are standing next to it. Because Arccos’s AI-Caddie is only as good as the underlying data, this could prove to be a massive improvement and maybe my favorite feature.
Another change that is certain to be a crowd favorite is that the Caddie Link frees up your phone to pair with a Bluetooth speaker and kick out the jams without interruption. Arccos users no longer have to choose between music or stat tracking.
One downside to the Caddie Link is that it is still prone to user error. Because the Caddie Link is listening for a signal from the club sensors, the placement of the device matters. If it is placed a little too far away from your front pocket area or covered by thick clothing, it may be a little too far away for reliable detection and you may not notice until you open the Caddie App. Thankfully, Arccos has a guide and a video on how to properly place the device to help and it only took a few holes to learn some best practices. Also, the Caddie Link is only compatible with the current generation Arccos Smart Sensors, not first generation sensors.
All told, I think the Caddie Link offers a lot of value-add for such a small device. Despite the very lengthy delays that soured some of the early enthusiasm, there is a lot of be excited about here and it certainly is not a beta or incomplete product. I openly admit the Caddie Link is not a must have device if you enjoy carrying your phone, but it is a great addition to the Arccos system with the freedom and better data accuracy it can provide. I know I am happy to get rid of the hot phone in my pocket that would “thigh-dial” my co-workers when I forgot to lock it, and instead enjoy some Friday afternoon music on the course. Whether you are in it for the better data accuracy, the freedom from the phone, or just want to rage against the machine in the fairway, I think the Caddie Link is a quality offering and well worth a look.
You can learn more about the Caddie Link on the Arccos website here.
Available: New orders being accepted now – non-preorders likely to ship around October 2020
Price: $99.00 for new orders